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How Do You Organize Your Stuff?

Jason's recent article on plane storage led me to another topic that is tough to solve - What to do with the piles of servo arms for 5 brands, screws & bolts of all sizes, props, power adapters, scrap wood, covering, glues, tools...STUFF!?!


Screws, Bolts, Washers & Nuts...Oh My!

Let's face it, our hobby uses a crap-load of screws & bolts from tiny to big. It's quite easy to suddenly have a container of assorted screws & stuff that you have no idea what's actually in it! And then when you do need a particular bolt, you have to scrounge around trying every one that looks close to the right size. The containers and assortment sets from places like RTL Fasteners are a great starting point, but I found something even better...

I follow Adam Savage & the Tested Youtube channel and saw in one of his videos a portable parts organization container system called Sortimo he raved about. After researching them, I found the Stanley Professional Organizers were nearly identical and easier (and cheaper) to get ahold of. Each yellow divider bin is removable if I need to use a lot of one or two things at the workbench and can be arranged inside in nearly any fashion.

Once I got the organizers, I made a big order to RTL Fastners and grabbed a bag of basically every size bolt, washer, lock washer, nut and lock nut that I would need for a long time! I'm currently using one Stanley organizer for Metric hardware, one for SAE, one for misc fuel dots/filters/clunks, and one for servo arms & misc power connectors. For the bolts & hardware, I stole all of the small bins from the other cases, but didn't have enough. THINGIVERSE TO THE RESCUE! I found a set of objects someone made to fit these organizers that were even subdivided! These worked perfectly for the washers & lock washers that don't take much room. Labels on the handle help me quickly grab the bin I need - whether it be Metric or SAE hardware, or something else - and labels on the individual divider bins let me know what size bolt I'm looking at.

Props & Misc Hanging Packages

A couple dozen trips to the hobby shop and you'll be sure to have a bevy of small packages of assorted DUB-BRO, Great Planes, etc things, not to mention a huge array of props. A nice piece of pegboard & hooks in your shop can help keep these organized and out of the way until you need them. And, a hole punch quickly makes anything hang-able. I keep my props sorted by length for easy finding. I also keep all of my extra servo extensions rubber banded together and hung on a peg, which makes it very easy to see how many I have of which length.

Glues, Sandpaper, Clamps & More

I found these small metal drawer units about 5 years ago at IKEA when I finally decided I need some sort of organization for my array of tools, glues, paints, etc. They're only about $15 a piece, don't take a lot of room, and the drawer depth works pretty well for most things. The only issue I've run into is with the taller epoxy bottles. I have drawers dedicated to glues & epoxies, sandpaper and sanding tools, soldering stuff, covering irons & tools, one for clamps, one for misc small tools, one get the idea.

Every-Day Tools

Easy access tool organizers are a must have for us. I found this plastic organizer at a swap some years back that has worked well. It doesn't hold everything I need, but most of it! Scissors, knives, screwdrivers, allen drivers and pliers are all easily accessible. I've also recently put up a magnetic bar on the wall above it to hold some of the more random things out of the way. If you're looking for one, I noticed that Laines Planes has some nice ones to choose from!

What Do You Do?

So that's what I've done, tell & show us all what YOU do to keep your wide variety of parts and tools organized and accessible!

Last edited by Nikolei Zinsli; Nov 13, 2017 at 08:07 AM..
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Nov 13, 2017, 08:21 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
To me, (the ultimate junk collector and keeper), the best thing is to 'have a place for everything'.

Whatever it is, it always goes back in the same place. That way you know it's somewhere in a specific box.

Or specific room

Nov 13, 2017, 08:57 AM
Quad Erat Demonstrandum
scousethief's Avatar
Luckily i have just bought a 2nd 3d printer so now i can print stuff to organize the stuff i salvaged from stuff just incase i need some stuff to repair some stuff thats broke.

Nov 13, 2017, 09:17 AM
Registered User
Could you come over and do that for my stuff?

Gee, here I thought I was getting organized because I now have three boxes for the stuff: the electrical stuff, the fastener stuff, and another for all the other stuff.
Nov 13, 2017, 09:40 AM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Originally Posted by scousethief
...the stuff i salvaged from stuff just incase i need some stuff to repair some stuff thats broke.
Hah! That right there is the head of the nail!
"I should hold onto this pushrod/piece of carbon fiber/clevis/screw/[insert random thingamajig], cuz I might need it some day and it'll save me a couple of bucks at the hobby shop!"

When we moved from Michigan, I put a bunch of covering scraps, random wood pieces, carbon fiber & aluminum, etc into a box as I said to my watching wife - "I know it looks stupid, but some of this scrap stuff is expensive!"

Originally Posted by flyerjohn
Could you come over and do that for my stuff?

Gee, here I thought I was getting organized because I now have three boxes for the stuff: the electrical stuff, the fastener stuff, and another for all the other stuff.
Don't worry, I have a few of those boxes (and bags) too! Couple bags of random servos, a bin or so of random medium bigger things that wont work well on the pegboard, and a small bin of stuff to sell that doesn't wanna sell!

Now that we've been moved into our new home, I've been trying to slowly organize more and condense stuff I had in random boxes for the move into plastic bins or something that makes more sense. It's an overwhelming process sometimes!
Last edited by Nikolei Zinsli; Nov 13, 2017 at 09:48 AM.
Nov 13, 2017, 12:06 PM
Registered User
I give everything a rough "year rule" if its been sat for about a year or in a pot that the contents are unrecognisable due to the amount of sawdust in it it gets binned or sold.....

the plus is a fairly efficient workshop the only down side at the moment is I cant find my David plane .
Nov 13, 2017, 02:52 PM
Registered User
Organize, that's funny. If I organized how would I get three of everything I need. Organize, gosh that's funny.
Nov 17, 2017, 02:12 PM
-insert witty saying here-
Hemikiller's Avatar
Plastic drawer units from Stack On or Akro Mills for hardware

Sterilite makes some nice clear plastic storage boxes with latching lids in various sizes that next and lock together. Look at you local Walmart or Target. I have several sizes and use them for rc electronics, extensions and other larger items.

Underbed size plastic storage boxes for balsa wood and covering rolls

Tools get sorted by category. Cutting tools in one drawer, driving tools (allen, philips etc) in another. Measuring in third. etc
Latest blog entry: ECSF 2017 SWap Meet - 4/2/17...
Nov 17, 2017, 02:53 PM
Registered User
Capt G's Avatar
this is one of the best things i ever bought for my workshop!
Nov 17, 2017, 03:26 PM
Kimbers Keeper.
BHOFM's Avatar
If I wanted neat, I would get another wife!
Nov 17, 2017, 08:00 PM
Phil F

What do I do with my "stuff"

My moto is; A place for everything and everything.............someplace :>)
Nov 17, 2017, 11:07 PM
I bought the bin system Harbor Freight sells with about 2 dozen bins. Works great. But with 3 RC'ers in the house with interests from planes to drones to cars and buggies, I gave up on organization long ago. I just keep my tools organized and to myself.
Nov 18, 2017, 07:22 AM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Originally Posted by Capt G
this is one of the best things i ever bought for my workshop!
Wow, thats pretty cool!
Latest blog entry: 93" AJ Laser 230z
Nov 18, 2017, 07:30 AM
Registered User
atreis's Avatar
I use the Akro Mils cabinets too. they work very well, are economical and good quality, and are US (Ohio) made.
Nov 19, 2017, 11:43 PM
Registered User

Radio Shack cabinets

I find these parts cabinets from Radio Shack to be great for organizing. And cheap at about $50 ea. when they were closing most of their stores.

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